It would appear that our boy is finally ‘over the hump’. He has not looked back – he continues to enjoy his work more every day, and trots forward with a greater degree of enthusiasm and confidence, by the minute.

While I have been driving up and down to Ocala, Selena has been riding him. She follows the same routine as before, lunging him until he is going forward and overtracking at walk and trot. Then riding him gently at walk and trot in the arena and outside. She has not asked for canter (and neither had I). So far he has only offered the one spontaneous canter under saddle (and it was wonderful). She has trotted him over a single pole, he was calm and unhurried, having practiced it several times on the lunge while his wither was too sore for the saddle. If he doesn’t offer canter soon, rather than chase him into it, we will try trotting over a little pile of poles or a tiny x – this often starts the canter off with a nice ‘hop’ for the first stride. I am going to introduce three trot poles in a row today.

I took the problem saddle to be restuffed and the saddler told me it’s come to the end of it’s days. I have worn it out! Sheesh….I thought it was meant to last until I retired, but he says I am too hard on it and it is not meant to be used 20 to 30 times a week….LOL I suppose it IS a hard life for a saddle. I left it there in the hope that just a little more life can be instilled into it on the operating table. The very idea of changing saddles makes me feel quite weak at the knees.

Solo is without turnout at the moment. The paddocks beside his barn are very low lying, and border Morton Creek. As a result, they get very wet and muddy at this time of the year and we have to keep the horses off them, or lose the grazing altogether. Considering he and his friend Waldo have only had a play in the indoor arena each day, they are both staying very focused on their work sessions. Neither of them has used the loss of turnout privileges as an excuse to behave badly, or not pay attention. I am proud of both of them.

We have started to plan when Solo will go to his first show. It would be nice to get to a few little competitions this year. Next winter he will go to Ocala and start his competition career proper, in the meantime it would be good to give him a few ‘off the property’ excursions. Soon we will begin taking him schooling in different locations and we will be looking for less pressured social outings such as clinics before we actually ‘compete’.